Bucket Bros: The Carpenters of Comedy

Movies So Bad...
They HAD to Reboot the Series


Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4: The Next Generation

By Zeus | 2009-02-24

Some movies are bad. Others are so bad, their sequels pretend they never happened (Highlander II). But these films retroactively taint the entire franchise; they travel back in time and murder their own grandfather; they're so bad, the only option is to reboot the series.

The Original

Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4: The Next Generation Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the most horrifying movies of all time. Psycho may seem quaint by today's standards, but twenty five years after Chainsaw was made, politicians still complain about its "corrupting" influence.

Other scary movies made viewers cringe; this one turned them into vegetarians.

The Culprit

DVD art If Hostel is considered torture porn, then Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4: The Next Generation is torture romantic comedy.

Renée Zellweger takes a wrong turn on the way home from prom and is captured by Matthew McConaughey, a sadistic tow-truck driver with a remote-controlled cybernetic leg and a family of insane rednecks.

Rumor has it McConaughey's agent put pressure on Columbia/TriStar not to release the film theatrically, for despite its obvious rising-star power, TCM 4 played in less than twenty theaters. Of course, there one other reason this movie has languished in obscurity for so long: It's just plain awful.

Writer/Director Kim Henkel co-wrote the original TCM and intended this as a "true sequel," but it plays out more like a bad parody. Leatherface is introduced Abbot & Costello Meet Dracula style; he hides behind a girl, teases her hair, and ducks every time she reaches back to swat him away. He's gone from a butcher who assumes the identity of whoever's face he happens to be wearing, to a full time drag queen who spends more time applying lipstick than chasing people with his/her trademark chainsaw.

Evil Dead 2 proved that a serious horror series could make the shift to black comedy. Texas Chainsaw Massacre 4 proves that writer/director Kim Henkel is no Sam Raimi. Leatherface has been castrated, figuratively speaking. (At least I hope it was figuratively -- he does scream like a castrato.)

Limp-wristed Leatherface
Oddly enough, the limp-wristed Leatherface was not carried over in the reboot.

As for the titular "massacre," no one is ever killed with a chainsaw. Nor is anyone ever hurt with a chainsaw. TCM4 could double as a chainsaw instructional safety video, because there's not a single chainsaw mishap or work-related injury.

Then there's the infamous dinner scene: notably absent from the 2003 remake, the dinner scene was the ultimate test of intestinal fortitude. Some movies have drinking games, but Texas Chainsaw Massacre had an eating game, and if you could eat something while watching the dinner scene, you had serious problems. Next Generation also has a dinner scene, only freshly delivered pizza has replaced the meal of human flesh, and instead of an unbearable scene involving a girl and a weak-armed ball-peen hammer attack by what looked like a living cadaver, Matthew McConaughey just pisses off his girlfriend until she beats him with her shoe. Then Renée Zellweger, who once danced around wearing only an apron in Empire Records, tells Leatherface to "Sit down and shut up" -- and he does. Ohh, scary!

Matthew shoves his fingers down Renee's throat.
Q) What do Matthew McConaughey fingers and this movie have in common?
A) They both make you gag.

Things take a turn for the weird at the end of the movie, when a limo pulls up and a well dressed member of an Illuminati-like organization scolds McConaughey:

"You are here for one reason, and one reason only... I want these people to know the meaning of horror. Horror. Is that clear? You don't want to be a silly boy. Is that clear?"

The alien/conspiracy subplot is never explained, but one can only imagine a similiar conversation took place when Kim Henkel showed the movie to investors.

Renee has an ugly dress on. Whee alt tags are fun.
That dress is the meaning of horror. High five! Who's with me? Anybody?

Failure to Launch, which also starred Matthew McConaughey alongside a hideous transsexual (Sarah Jessica Parker), was a much better horror film.

Did the reboot help?

Well, it was produced by Michael Bay and directed by a man who had previously only worked on Cher and George Michaels videos... but, surprisingly, yes. I haven't seen the 2003 remake myself, but Mars liked it, and honestly, anything would be better than this.

Further Reading

More Movies So Bad They HAD to Reboot the Series: Other stuff:

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